STA, 7 January 2020 - Mass antigen rapid testing has been suspended in Ljubljana due to unsuitable swabs, the Ljubljana Health Community Centre has announced.
The health centre told the STA they had suspended testing based on a decision by the Agency for Medicinal Products and Medical Devices, which found the swabs unsuitable because their producer is not known and the swabs have no required markings.
The agency said in a press release today that this had been determined as part of an inquiry into the suitability of the rapid antigen tests kits by Chinese producer Shenzen Ultra-Diagnostic Biotec supplied by company Majbert Pharm.
Subsequently, a temporary ban was issued preventing further use of the swabs. The agency stressed that the ban was in place exclusively for the swabs.
The Ljubljana Health Community Centre announced it was suspending mass testing that should have resumed at Kodeljevo sports hall at 11am today due to a lack of proper swabbing materials.
They said testing would resume as soon as they received permission and suitable materials from the Health Ministry or the relevant institution.
Mass testing was also suspended in Medvode, a town just north-west of Ljubljana. The local authorities said the community health centre there had received only 350 tests from the Health Ministry and would soon run out of tests, considering the great numbers of people wanting to be swabbed.
The Medvode Community Health Centre will resume testing next week, on Tuesday. Testing will be available to Medvode residents only.
The Agency for Medicinal Products announced yesterday it would examine the suitability of antigen tests after suspicions had been raised about the tests' reliability.
The Chinese-made rapid antigen tests have been supplied by Majbert Pharm, a company owned by a pair reportedly linked to cryptocurrency pyramid schemes, which won a public tender in December for offering the lowest price, at EUR 1.982 apiece.
The web portal Necenzurirano has reported that the tests had shown a false positive result in several cases.
The opposition Social Democrats (SD) reacted by filing a request for an emergency session of the parliamentary Health Committee to discuss the transparency and lawfulness of the public tender for the rapid antigen tests and the suitability of the supplied tests.
It said that suggestions that the supply of inappropriate tests could be linked to the ruling Democrats (SDS) should be investigated immediately along with any potential violations of anti-corruption legislation.
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